Is youth wasted on the young? Not if you work in marketing.

August 27th, 2009

Back injuries got me thinking mortal thoughts lately. Contemplating a long-running ailment made me consider that my youth is at an end (physically at least). Early this morning I watched a discussion on breakfast TV about ageism – it is discrimination, but the guest was making the point that it is a very subtle form of it. There’s just an assumption that as we get older, we can do less. It has been said (by Dorothea Brande) that writing is something to be considered only after you reach the age of thirty. The quality of writing is one of those things that – arguably – improves with the age of the author. Which is probably just as well, since recent rejections have me thinking that if I want to be in this at all … it has to be for the long haul!

It makes me think too of our youth-centered culture. Marketing gurus love “yoof”. Reinvent and recast. Bring the most beautiful and appealing onto screen and stage. I’m thinking of the youngest actor ever cast to play Doctor Who. I’m thinking of a new young Star Trek film cast. I’m thinking of the rumour that Stargate: Atlantis was cancelled to make way for Stargate: Universe – a show which will, no doubt, be another pale Star Trek style rehash, but with a younger cast to appeal to a larger demographic. I’m thinking of the trend in recent years of announcing book deals with teenager authors, the kind whose pictures look pretty next to the byline. I’m not resentful – more luck to them I say. I’d have loved to be in that position when I was that young. But I held off, knowing that my work wouldn’t start to be of a quality I’m happy with until this stage of life.

Of course, there is another reason the marketeers like this youthful shim on our world – inexperience comes cheap. It is the beauty of the healthy balance sheet they like to ogle.

Entry Filed under: Observation & Musing,Writing

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